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posted by:

2004-07-30 14:42:39
Compiled by the Medium Wave Alliance (established October 1, 1997), a loose confederation of people who are interested in receiving or transmitting unorthodox signals on medium wave frequencies (the AM broadcast band).

Q : How can I reach more people?

multiple transmitters
Legend has it, there have been a couple of successful, profit-making Part 15 stations in the US. How do they get enough audience to attract advertisers? They use multiple transmitters scattered across the city. To use this method, you need to find an affordable way to feed audio from your studio to the various transmitters. In Union County, New Jersey there is a network of sixteen synchronized transmitters on 1620 kHz forming a Spanish Christian "station."

If the coverage areas of the multiple transmitters will overlap at the edges, they must either be on different frequencies or they must be synchronized. If two transmitters on the same frequency are not synchronized so that the signals are in phase with each other, they can cancel each other out creating a null in the overlap area, or they can create an annoying low-pitched interference tone that would be audible to the listeners.

go to the audience
Another way to increase potential audience size is to locate your transmitter near a place where traffic jams often occur and put up a sign inviting the bored, trapped motorists to tune in your fascinating program. A record company has successfully used this method to promote new records in the northeast.

A Part 15 station is not required to remain in a fixed location. It should be possible to stuff all the needed gear into a backpack and then walk, bicycle or drive to campuses, festivals, office complexes, and other areas where people congregate.

How often do most people tune up and down the radio dial to see what signals are available at the moment? Almost never, I think. (I've heard a lot of talkshow callers say they never listened to AM until the Persian Gulf War or some other crisis, when their instincts told them to seek information on the AM dial.) Generally folks stay glued to their favorite stations and don't tune around unless a sign, bumper sticker, T-shirt, TV commercial or recommendation from a friend informs them of a worthwhile new station. You will have to publicize your station.

make contact 
How can you find out if anyone is listening? Give out your phone number and e-mail address from time to time. Have a contest; offer to pay for a pizza delivery to the next person who calls in with a request. Say something controversial and ask people to call in with their opinions.

have a web presence 
You can potentially enlarge your audience by making your station's audio available on the world wide web. Even if you can't afford to do streaming audio, you can certainly record highlights of your shows and make them available as downloadable wave or mp3 or realaudio files. But if you're trying to avoid legal troubles, be careful not to upload copyrighted music without permission or a license.

Q: Will my flea-power station change the world?

With dozens of cable TV channels, zillions of web sites, plus videos and video-games and CDs, in addition to more high-power radio stations than ever before, people have a lot of choices for stuff to look at and listen to. Don't be too optimistic or too pessimistic about the effect your station might have. Over the years I've heard a lot of people tell stories about radio stations that they loved or particular broadcasts that really touched their souls. I've read eyewitness accounts of people driving into the neighborhoods of pirate and Part 15 stations and parking there, sitting in their cars and listening to the broadcasts. If you're doing something meaningful and unique, you might reach a few people.

On the other hand, only 20% of Americans listen to AM radio on a regular basis. Half of the population only listens to any kind of radio when they are driving around in their cars. But even during those periods of time when you are the only person listening to your station, it can still be a worthwhile exercise. You will learn about electronics and radio wave propagation, audio production, and other topics. An activity doesn't have to be earth-shattering or profitable to be worthwhile; consider the Japanese concept of tashinamu

It is better to light a single candle than to sit and curse the darkness.

See more Part 15 faqs

posted by:

2004-09-15 16:10:31
I made this bumpersticker for my car. Print a copy for yourselves so I know to listen in.


posted by:

2004-12-13 04:11:52
I wanted to add an idea I had that would certainly help all of you compete with the big stations.
It goes along with synchronizing stations.  A central computer would be needed to setup
a streaming music server and all radio revolt ppl would hook up their transmitters to their computers soundcard. After this, use a program to get the streaming content from the central server and with enough people you could have a large area of coverage with the same content.

I realize for the central person this would mean a question of bandwidth costs and posibbly for everyone else. With a large enough area, I suppose advertising dollars might be possible to help cover the costs.

(On that topic, if people all broadcasted the same content but during pauses played local advertising it might prove effective. Imagine driving through an area listening to the radio hearing about some great restaurant and wow, there it is. Alot of ppl may not realize it and think its just a strange coincidence. Something like, "Their special of the day sounds great. I should go try it." Never under estimate the power of suggestion.)

By setting up a network like i'm talking about, no one would have to worry about finding content all the time. Each person could get a 1 hour time slot a week or a day for their show at their scheduled time. Record your show at home when u can and then send it in so it can be put on the playlist.

Individual radio stations is nice but not always that attractive if you are going to lose the signal when the light change and u drive away. If you can listen to the same thing at home and at work, it seems alot more attractive. Maybe my ideas won't work but I really like the idea of the power being spread amongst the people instead of a few big companies.

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